Jeff Jobe, Community Publisher Barren County Progress JPI
Whew! The elections are over, new leadership is sworn in, and new strategies are becoming apparent.
In simple business thought: Glasgow and Barren County has so much potential because our stock value has depreciated so much in the past few years.
Glasgow can once again be the hub of all things happening for regional business, entertainment, and true quality of life with the right leadership.
The only trap they need to be aware of is to embrace and promote projects good for the entire community, not just a few special interest and divisive wants.
These small pockets of division destroy any hope of the united front we must have for state and national leaders to step out for us.
This past week, Judge/Executive Jamie Bewley Byrd, Mayor Henry Royse, President of the Barren Economic Authority Maureen Carpenter, and local businessman Larry Glass made a trip to Frankfort to visit with Secretary of Transportation Jim Gray, Secretary for Economic Development Jeff Noel, and Governor Andy Beshear. This city, county, and business leadership trip is an amazing witness to wanting to create a unified effort for our community.
Jim Gray grew up in Glasgow, and what an honor for him to serve in such a capacity. Why in the world wouldn’t he want his hometown to know he is there and willing to help us? Glasgow is no longer the community of prosperity he once knew as a young man, and we need his help.
We have fallen in terrible disrepair, not because our community isn’t paying our share of taxes, but because our dollars have not been used effectively.
It seems the only thing leadership over the past few years could almost fully agree on was establishing new taxing districts, and there was a need because we had lost so much industry.
The taxing districts were new tax dollars that freed up the general funds of both city and county government. True leadership would have cooperated to use the savings to maintain our assets.
We saw the county’s most historical building (the Courthouse) fall in disrepair, with patchwork done instead of true historical preservation.
When we don’t maintain our community services and assets, it hurts our attractiveness, growth, and ability to be prepared for an emergency.
We know this now because Glasgow lost our Richardson Stadium to fire, and it must be rebuilt soon. I’m comfortable we all agree, and there will be no controversy whatsoever. So just do it and be sure to enlist the partnership of the Glasgow School System.
A pure definition of controversy is a disagreement that is public, heated, and prolonged. Leadership should guard against these issues, discourage them, and stop them when they arise. They must seek projects that have broad appeal, and respect the community by being transparent.
For years we have known that our city pool has needed attention. Yet, it was only spoken of during a campaign cycle. Nothing has been done, and our city children found themselves without a pool on the hottest days in 2022. This is wrong.
Another secret, it seems, was that our tennis courts needed to be maintained, and we sat and watched as our community lost a long-standing and well-respected event, the Weldon Tennis Tournament. It is now in Bowling Green.
Byrd’s energy and marketing experience have produced sold-out shows at the Plaza Theatre with her nonprofit Helping the Hardworking concert series bringing new life and energy to the beautiful venue. It is this same energy and experience that has all of downtown Glasgow excited again. Our hotels, and restaurants are being filled with people who come here to spend money and enjoy themselves. This, too, should excite our tourism leaders.
The Highland Games need to come back as well, even if in a small local downtown celebration. We must not lose it forever!
Who better to convince the old Glasgow guard that we need to unite than a well-respected, long standing member of the Glasgow community like Royse? Royse can be very effective if he will use his years of experience reporting news to help choose the best paths.
The Plaza Theater is as important to the success of Glasgow businesses as economic development is to our tax base, and we haven’t seen a tremendous amount of success in these areas.
The effects are destroying our town. We need Byrd and Royse to rally and support these factions of our community while holding them and the boards in which they serve accountable.
Division was, indeed, an issue with both. How can you expect our economic authority to attract large companies if we haven’t had leadership partnering with them, showing Frankfort and Washington we have one common goal? That goal is to grow Barren County. All of it.
How can downtown Glasgow’s private investors continue to renovate buildings and establish new businesses without leadership who understands how important it is to maximize Glasgow’s nationally registered historic treasure? The Plaza should be a revenue source instead of an expense item and never again sit silent on New Year’s Eve!
I’m looking forward to a year of excitement and hard work that is sure to translate into success for us all. We must get these issues addressed quickly because our community has so many social needs and concerns, such as drugs, crime, poverty, foster kids, and a growing homeless population. None of which will ever have the finances needed until our economy is growing.
A strong majority has spoken this election, and it is now time to get to work by supporting our new leadership and do our part to help put Glasgow and Barren County back on top!
It is, indeed, our time!
Jeff Jobe is founder and CEO of Jobe Publishing, Inc. His commentary reflects his personal views and does not reflect the views of personal or professional associations and affiliations. Reach him at email@example.com. Read his previously published commentary at www.sckentucky.com